Nor The Battle To The Strong

Written by Charles F. Price
Review by Eileen Charbonneau

This novel of the American Revolution in the South is told from the contrasting viewpoints of Major General Nathanial Greene and Private James Johnson, a Scottish immigrant and runaway indentured servant. Their lives are both leading toward the 1781 Battle of Eutaw Springs, one of the bloodiest actions of the war.

The men are a study in opposites: Greene is highly educated, Quaker-bred and asthmatic, a plodder pouring over military texts and as quietly eager for fame as the more conspicuous Lighthorse Harry Lee, the beloved thorn in his side. Private Johnson comes with a sprightly sister in tow and is humble, resilient, and un-self-conscious, an American Candide on the adventure of his young life. But Johnson has his decency forever corroded by the brutality that marked the war even as he faces a future as a free American.

Nor the Battle to the Strong is a treasure trove of detail (Baron Steuben smells of roses and cloves), vivid characterization, and hard truths about the nature of warfare. It does not shy away from the prejudices that marked the time, and comes with illustrations and maps that are skillfully rendered. Highly recommended.